Elon Musk-founded SpaceX Technologies’ attempts to launch satellite internet services in India faces its first challenge.
New Delhi: Elon Musk-founded SpaceX Technologies’ attempts to launch satellite internet services in India faces its first challenge. The Broadband India Forum has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to block SpaceX Technologies from pre-selling the beta version of its Starlink satellite internet services in India.
According to a report in the Economic Times, TV Ramachandran, president of the industry body, which represents Amazon, Facebook, Google, Hughes and Microsoft, claimed that SpaceX does not have the permissions to offer such services in India.
It may be noted that SpaceX has offered pre-orders for the beta version of its Starlink internet services in India for a “fully refundable deposit” of $99 (nearly Rs 7,000). The service competes with other satellite communication services such as Bharti Group and the UK government-owned OneWeb (aiming for a mid-2022 launch) and Amazon’s Project Kuiper.
Ramachandran requested these bodies to “urgently intervene to protect fair competition and adherence to existing policy and regulatory norms”, the ET report mentioned.
A senior TRAI official told the business daily that the issue “would be examined.”
ET Now Digital could not independently verify the report.
The forum said Starlink didn’t have its own ground or earth stations in India nor satellite frequency authorisation from ISRO and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as these authorisations are required before offering beta services in India.
SpaceX Technologies, which already offers such services in the US, Canada and UK, expects to start offering internet connectivity in India starting from 2022 through satellites which the company will launch into orbit. The company’s website says “orders would be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis as availability is limited”.